Generation Y

This is the eighth in our series based on Challenges of the
Future: The Rebirth of Small Independent Retail in America
, a 64 page white paper by Jack Stanyon, underwritten by the George H. Baum
Community Charitable Trust, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and the
National Retail Federation Foundation.  Today we take a final look at Changing Demographics.

Stanyon’s third powerful demographic trend is Generation Y. Sons and daughters of the Baby Boom generation, Gen Ys are generally considered to have been born between 1985 and 2000, the last group born in the twentieth century.  They’ve grown up with the Internet and aren’t usually moved by traditional types of advertising.

While we boomers get our information from network television, they get theirs from one another, specifically over the Internet, in chat rooms and by instant messaging, and on social web sites like MySpace. 

A good source of information on the Gen Ys is an article from Business Week, cleverly called "Generation Y".  The article points out that this generation is more cynical than past generations and is more likely to be influenced by non-traditional types of marketing.  They’re more diverse making generalizations and mass marketing difficult.  Some big companies have tried and failed to reach this group including Pepsi, Nike, and Levi jeans. 

As the article points out, while Pepsi is struggling for market share with this group, one of their favorite drinks is Mountain Dew, a Pepsi product.  The reason?  Mountain Dew is high in cafeine, something which Pepsi doesn’t promote.  The success of the soft drink is totally from word of mouth.

Ys are more practical than previous generations and are already looking at their futures.  Many of them have their own credit cards.

As the oldest members of Generation Y are just entering their twenties, it will be a while before they start buying many durable goods for themselves, but many of them have an impact on family purchases, especially in single-parent households.  They are the future and now is the time to begin connecting with them.


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